One of the great pleasures of a day spent outdoors is extending it until the next day by spending the night in the comfort and protection of your tent. For some, this small interior deserves more stars than the most sumptuous of hotels.
The wide choice of tent models available, however, is disarmingly embarrassing for anyone who wants to get one! Here are some great tips for choosing the right tent.
WEIGHT AND AREA
First, it must be determined whether the tent will be transported in a backpack or in the trunk of a car. No question of carrying a 6 kg tent with steel poles on your shoulders! On the other hand, if we drive to our campsite, weight is not a factor and we can afford to think big when it comes to cabin area.
Then, you have to know with how many people you will share your small “mobile home” in general. There are tents for one, two, three or four people, or even more, which usually represents the number of people who can sleep in them, strung on the ground. It should be understood that in some cases there is very little space left for the material.
To maximize comfort, choosing a larger tent (with a capacity for at least one more person) may be a wise choice. For example, two people might benefit from choosing a three-person tent. The extra space offers a little more personal comfort, in addition to being used to keep equipment safe. A larger tent also helps keep troops morale high, especially on long stays or when harsh weather conditions require us to spend more time indoors.
In addition, for the same model, the difference in weight between the two-person version and the three-person version is often minimal. For example, the Zoic 2P and Zoic 3P tents, from MSR, weigh 2.19 kg and 2.67 kg respectively, or half a kilo that could save a marriage! So, to make your selection, do not hesitate to consult the technical sheets of various tents and compare them with each other, paying particular attention to the area of the floors (expressed in square meters) and the weight.
DOORS AND VESTIBULES
The number of doors and the size of the vestibules are two other factors that contribute to the comfort level of a tent. Indeed, a tent with only one door favors traffic jams and can lead to disagreements when it comes to choosing who will sit next to it and who will sit at the back … A model with two doors avoids these problems and having two people set up at the same time, which is not a luxury in bad weather. As for the vestibules, when they are spacious, they can accommodate and protect backpacks, shoes and other equipment, which improves the experience in the tent. Their importance should therefore not be underestimated!
A secondary selection criterion is ease of assembly. The majority of tents are now free-standing, meaning that once set up they do not have to be stretched and tied to the ground to stand up. Tents that are not freestanding are usually very large or very small, even minimalist models. Obviously, these must be installed on a ground where you can anchor stakes securely and tighten the ropes. Very rocky, sandy or snowy soils can therefore be problematic.
Some tents can also be difficult to set up by one person; you must then make sure that they will not be used for solo use. Moreover, before going camping, it is wise to pitch your tent at least once, whether in your basement or in your garden. Finding yourself in front of a tent that you don’t know how to put together in the middle of the forest, at nightfall or in the rain is not as pleasant as setting it up on a sunny Sunday afternoon in a pretty clearing.
In the category of easy-to-install tents, some models are even set up on their own using a system of poles that deploy as soon as they are released from their ties, as is the case with the 2- Secondes, from the French equipment manufacturer Décathlon. However, the latter is neither light nor compact, and it cannot be carried in a backpack.
SUMMER, FALL OR WINTER CAMPING?
The choice of a tent must also be made according to the time of the year when it will be used. There are three categories: summer tents, three season tents, and winter tents (often called expedition tents).
A summer tent is made up of two layers: one internal – largely made of mosquito netting and with wide doors – the other external – made of a waterproof flysheet. The purpose of this double layer is to allow good ventilation of the tent so that it allows the maximum heat and humidity to escape while keeping its occupants dry.
The three-season models are similar in construction, but with less mosquito net and more resistant materials. As for the winter tents, they have even less mosquito net and their flysheet, particularly robust, drops very close to the ground in order to retain the maximum of the heat released by the campers. Their frame is also much stronger, in order to support the weight of the snow. There are also models with a single layer (without flysheet), but these are used for very specialized uses and in cases of extreme conditions, where lightness, strength and speed of assembly are crucial factors. Their price is also almost prohibitive!